Saturday, 3 December 2011


I'll be honest, I'm not much of a person for going out, for going places. I've never really been interested in travel and in my entire life I've only been to Belgium, Holland and France (that on a school trip aged 10), Brittany (once), Spain (once), Yugoslavia (twice, when it still existed, these days the specific area is Croatia), and Lanzarote (about half a dozen times). Otherwise I've never been out of the UK. It's just too much trouble. Similarly I've never been to any music events like Glastonbury. All the gigs I've been to have never been further away than Newcastle or Middlesborough. Except for the 101 Club in London when I went down in a minibus with a band that my friend Ian Penman was managing and threw up in it (the minibus not the club) on the way back after smoking some dope. 

So, yes, I have led a fairly dull life, mainly because I found the inside of my own head a more interesting place to visit. Other places are just too much of an effort, but-

I'm going to see Bruce Springsteen!
At the Stadium of Light, Sunderland
on June 12th 2012!
I probably wouldn't have bothered if he'd been playing at St. James's Park (or whatever they're calling it today), Newcastle -too much of an effort to get home- but I can walk home in half an hour from the Stadium of Light.*

Springsteen is up there in my pantheon of music gods being almost, but not just quite, on a par with Neil Young, Sandy Denny, The Grateful Dead, and Albert King (whom I saw at the Sunderland Empire a year or so before his death), and just above U2. I saw an add for it last Wednesday in the local edition of Metro the free paper while I was having coffee with my retired library colleague friends. Phil (ex-local studies librarian, was also interested). I'm 63. Big events don't happen on my doorstep very often and, while I wouldn't rule out the impossibility of Young and U2 playing the SoL, this could be my last chance at getting to see someone whose music I love and who I know gives the audience a great time. I'd have been mad to miss it.

So this morning I was logged in to the ticket website, ready for its opening at 9.00am. I'd pre-registered with the ticket company and was making my booking within seconds of the tickets becoming available. I've got myself a seat (I'm not standing for maybe three hours even for Bruce and it was only £5 extra). The total cost came to £69.25 but it's going to be worth it!

Post Script 1.

Susan looked at me in amazement. "You're going by yourself," she said.
"Yes," I replied, wondering why that should be such a surprise. Barry wouldn't be interested and another certain person would only go if could get in free. Being an only child, from childhood I've been used to going to places on my own. Not always, often with friends, but it doesn't bother me being on my own and never has.
"Oh," she said. Susan isn't like me in this respect at all and considers it just one my many strangenesses.
But as far as I'm concerned, I'll be surrounded by thousands of Springsteen fans and I wouldn't have expected to talk much anyway. It's the music, man!

Post Script 2.

* Talking about the Stadium of Light, in the last four days Sunderland Association Football Club has sacked manager Steve Bruce and appointed the acclaimed Martin O'Neil. He's so famous that even I, whose only interest in sport is the doings of Sunderland and other local football teams, have heard of him. If anyone can pull the team out their current doldrums it's O'Neil.

And after that, could it be -glory days?**

** That's the title of a Springsteen song you philistines.

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